Broadway Musicals

Well!  I am curious about yesterday’s dearth of comments on Rogers and Hammerstein.  Ben said they were too “Syrupy”.   I suppose, but they fit their times. I remember finding a book in the local library when I was in Grade 7 that described most of the recent musicals of the early and mid 20th century. I was fascinated and researched all the musicals that I could, and surprised and exasperated my Grade 7 music teacher with all the things I knew about “All About Eve” with Lauren Bacall. It was the first musical sound track I bought.

We are challenged with deciding what we want to do when we visit New York in November.  We want to see a musical.

Any suggestions from Baboons about current Broadway musicals to see? What musicals are your favorites?  What is the first musical you remember? What about movie musicals?


26 thoughts on “Broadway Musicals”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    My silence yesterday was only due to having taken a long weekend in AZ, which turned into a busy time. Then I returned to work yesterday and had claims on my time from the minute I arrived until I left. And then I was exhausted with jet lag. The time difference between here and AZ is now two hours due to MN’s Daylight Savings Time. My body does not tolerate that well.

    This post reminds me that I am due for my yearly viewing of Cabernet, my very favorite musical. Joel Gray, Liza Minnelli, and Michael York give brilliant performances. Musicals I want to see are The Book of Mormon (I hear it is profane) and Hamilton for the creative combination of rap and history.

    I did not know there were musical that were not movies until sometime in college. The exception was high school musical which were REALLY AWFUL. Or Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett on the little black and white TV (still spectacular) My little Iowa childhood world did not really allow for the concept of big stages full of people so talented that they could create an entire world on a stage. College changed that perception when I worked as an usher at the live theater at Iowa State University which hosted touring companies. Man were my eyes opened. I loved it.

    My objection to Rogers and Hammerstein musicals is that the solution to every woman’s problem, including Ado Annie, is to get married. Rand H married off these women to con men (the Music Man), old guys (Herr Von Trap in the Sound of Music), or scoundrel farmers who took advantage of Ado Annie (Oklahoma). They needed a Me Too Moment. After all, What Do You Do With a Problem Like Maria? Make her get married despite the Nazis chasing them. Was that really a great time for romance?

    Liked by 5 people

  2. With a few exceptions, I’ve never been a fan of musicals. They seem to have about 5 minutes of plot in the 2 hours or so of the movie and I just want the storyline to move along. I guess I just don’t have the right kind of cultural sensitivity to appreciate the song and dance stuff.


  3. I LOVE musicals but haven’t been to many lately. Don’t even know what’s playing on Broadway these days (other than (probably) Hamilton and Cats, which is booked through at least 2199.

    We had lots of music and therefore musicals in the house growing up (records on the “hi-fi.” Lots of R&H, most of the musicals of the 50s and 60s. I thought “Hair” was such a pioneering breakthrough in the genre (with all the “words you can’t say on TV.”

    Fave musical of all time is “West Side Story.” Right up there for movie musicals is “Grease.” “Annie” is also surprisingly excellent in the song department. One that I never saw or knew much about until about 20 years ago was “Guys and Dolls.” That has some fantastic tunes in it: “Luck Be a Lady,”, “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” “Guys & Dolls,” “If I were a Bell,” etc.

    So in the interest of getting our day off to a toe-tapping start, here’s a classic from that show (plus a bit extra–5 minutes of excellence):

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I like musicals too. They are really fun to light and at one of the theaters here in town, I try to pick out one or two / year that I can fit into my schedule to light them.
    I do get R&H music in my head and Renee, you’re right, they did fit their times and they certainly made an impact. But these days, they’re sort of dated and most of the theaters I work at don’t want to drag out those old chestnuts.
    All these TV musicals; ‘High School Musical 1,2, 3, 4?” — oh my, I can’t watch. Daughter loves them. So they have their place too; I can’t stand the pop tunes mostly.
    There are so many good musicals. ‘Hair’ is a classic. ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ was just done locally. ‘Book of Mormon’ is a hoot, but, very irreverent but oh so funny.
    Just did ‘Avenue Q’ and that show also sings and laughs at prejudice, porn on the internet, Jews, Gays, Republicans and everything — but in that way that you know is true and it brings attention to it by poking fun at it. And I’d sit in the audience and look at people and think ‘Oh, they’re not going to like this’ and everyone laughed. We got one complaint letter; they were offended that there was a joke about trump and one about Republicans. Evidently all the other jokes were OK, but don’t talk about the president! You’re missing the point people…

    There was a musical called ‘Passing Strange’ that is one of my favorites.
    I try showing it to the college kids because I think some of them could really relate and I can’t get them interested. It’s frustrating.

    “Spring Awakening” is another that we should be talking about more.

    Here’s a longer snippet of ‘Passing Strange’ but I like it that much! 🙂


  5. The first musical I saw live was My Fair Lady, sung in Danish. It was wonderful, with three very well known and excellent actors in the roles of Professor Higgins, Eliza Doolittle, and her dad, Alfred P. Doolittle. The latter was especially good. To this day, the beloved Danish actor (Osvald Helmuth) who played that role, stands out in my mind as the perfect Alfred P.

    I saw Hair in Chicago back when I was still in college, and loved it. How can you not love Fiddler on the Roof, Cats, Les Miserable, Phantom of the Opera, Sweeney Todd, and Into the Woods? I haven’t seen Hamilton, but would love to.

    Another excellent musical, and one that is currently on Broadway, is the Lion King. When it first played at the Orpheum in Minneapolis many years ago, I took my next door neighbor’s three little kids to see it. I’m pretty sure it’s the one and only time they ever set foot inside a theater, and they were mesmerized.

    There’s a current staging of Oklahoma on Broadway that sounds interesting. It follows the original script and has all of the original songs, but apparently all the women are portrayed as strong and independent. Might be worth checking out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Les Mis! How could I forget! “Chess” is good if a bit dated. “Hamilton” is really fun; it is a neat mix of history and music.

      And then there’s this musical making fun of musicals. Good for people who don’t like musicals. It’s called ‘Something Rotten’.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Good for you taking the neighbor kids to a show!
      It is really fun to have college students tell us the first play they saw was one of our children’s productions when they were in 1st grade.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I like most musicals. For sheer creativity, “The Lion King” is my favorite. I have never laughed so much as watching “The Book of Mormon”. “Hamilton” was outstanding. A sentimental favorite is “South Pacific” – I played piano for our high school production – but don’t care for the movie version. Even though “The Sound of Music” is not historically correct, I like the music and the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. music man was my introduction to musicals in high School. Like you said, that one is a sentimental favorite of mine.


      1. My favorite number in the Music Man, which does have marvelous music, is “Pick Alittle, Talk Alittle.” I can just see the gossips in my home town spreading the word when that comes on.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I am a Broadway musical but Nadick back when I had money the first thing I did was buy tickets for both the St. Paul and Minneapolis Broadway seasons and try to sneak in as many others as I could when traveling or when at another venue in the Twin Cities .

    My daughter page 19 is a musical theater major now and when I get in the car with her she plugged in her sock list and bring me up to speed on all the new current staff
    I see Evan Hansen is on Broadway right now and that’s really fun I am not a Hamilton fan which surprised the heck out of me I so look forward to spend big money on tickets and then went and found that I couldn’t understand most of what they were saying. it’s nice that he figured out how to bring musicals to a new generation who doesn’t want to listen to Rogers and Hammerstein but the start to finish over load of rap rapidfire lyrics is too much
    it’s well done but if you had to sit and listen to two hours of the guy at the end of the commercial that reads the legal jargon at high-speed rapidfire content level you shut the radio off that’s kind of how I feel about Hamilton
    If when you’re going to New York you want to ask me to ask my daughter has to watch incredible that’s there at the moment I’d be happy to do that
    she will know

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not all of Hamilton is fast Rap. There are lovely songs too. With your varied interest in music, it surprises me you didn’t like it. But that’s OK tim; we forgive you. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. tim, I might have some bleeding heart you could have. (Plus some other plants – prairie smoke, anyone?) I don’t know yet if they’ve popped up yet, will let you know.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Edith, if you are unloading those, I will take them. And morre. Much much more. (My plant hoarding gets out of control in the spring !)


        1. I will definitely be unloading plants this spring, Jacque, and you’re welcome to them. (My gardening days are coming to an end.) Not sure yet how many or which ones, but I’m guessing a lot. I’ll know more once things start popping out of the ground and I can see what’s here. Those who take any plants will probably have to do their own digging.


  8. Fiddler has always been my favorite. My mother was very fond of Cabaret and Hair.

    I think the first musical I encountered was My Fair Lady – a neighbor had the soundtrack, when I was maybe five or six.

    I should find out more about current musicals, but I’m pretty much in the dark about them.

    Liked by 1 person

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